File Menu – Import Sub-Menu

NOTE: If you are using Apple Mail from OS 10.4 or later, click here for instructions.

Email Applications supported by iData Pro

iData Pro can import email files from a variety of email applications. However, since email formats vary somewhat from one application to another, it is necessary to specify the application to be imported from. (As someone once said, "The nice thing about standards is that there are so many of them.")

The email applications currently supported by iData Pro are:


It is required that message folders be in the standard mbox format. An mbox file normally represents a folder in your email application. Some email applications append a .mbox extension, some do not. Different applications put their mbox files in different locations. Check to see what your email application's files look like, and where they are stored on your hard drive.

Entourage Users Note: Entourage uses its own non-standard file format for email files, so it is necessary to first export a file in mbox format. The exported file can then be imported into iData Pro. To export an email folder from Entourage as an mbox file:

         1. Create a folder for your exported mbox files. (This is just for organization purposes, but it's probably a good idea.)

         2. Launch Entourage and place its window so that you can see at least part of your new folder behind it.

         3. Drag the folder that contains the messages you want to export to your new folder. A new file will be created, using the name of the Entourage mail folder plus a .mbox file name extension. (Note: If you export a folder that contains subfolders, the messages in the subfolders are not exported. To export the contents of these subfolders, you must drag the subfolders to the desktop individually.)

Email Record Structure

iData Pro places the message portion of each imported email message into the Freeform Text Area of a record. In addition, any existing data of the following types will be put into matching fields:

         Reply to
         File Name

To import an email file into  an existing datafile, that datafile must have eight fields, and they should be in the same order as specified above, although the precise names of the fields may vary. (Even though not every email has data in all those fields, there is no way to predict this, so the iData format is generalized to cover the most common cases. When viewing imported email datafiles in List View, you can use the Modify Fields function to specify that some fields should be hidden. Please see the Modify Fields topic in the Edit chapter for details.)

Since all of these applications keep all of their messages in a single file for each folder, the File Name field will be empty.

To import an email file into iData Pro:

         1. If you wish to add the incoming file to an existing datafile, open that datafile and make sure it is the frontmost datafile in iData Pro. (If the datafile is already open, and if it has had any changes made to it, it would be a good idea to save those changes before proceeding.)

         2. Select the kind of email you want to import from the Import sub-menu under the File menu.

         3. In the Open dialog that comes up next, navigate to your mbox file, select it, and click the Open button.

         4. The following dialog will appear. If there is no current datafile open, only the first radio button will be active.

         5. If applicable, select one of the radio buttons. Here are what the options mean:

                   a. Create new field-based datafile - As you might expect, this will create a new datafile containing the imported email data. You will be able to save the new datafile with any name you desire. Newly created email datafiles will have the Freeform Text Area renamed as "Message".

                   b. Add to current datafile - If this option is available, it will cause newly imported records to be added at the end of the current datafile. If you are importing a later version of the mailbox that was used to create the current datafile, you will probably end up with duplicate records. Therefore, this option is best for adding messages from different mailboxes into a single datafile.

                   c. Merge into current datafile - If this option is available, after adding the newly imported records, iData Pro will automatically remove all exact duplicates, so this is probably the best option for repeatedly updating a datafile for a particular mailbox. Note that removing duplicates requires that the datafile be sorted by the contents of all the fields in order, so if you have rearranged the datafile for any reason, that order will be lost.

         6. Click the OK button to start the import.

         7. Once the import is complete, if you selected the first option, the result will be a new untitled datafile. In this case, we recommend that you save the new datafile right away, giving it the same name as the mailbox from which it was imported, but retaining the required .id3 file name extension.

Import Speed:

Depending on the speed of your particular machine and the percentage of html-based messages, importing a mailbox with, say, 2000 messages may take anywhere from 20 seconds up to about 2 minutes. Html messages take longer than plain text, as they require an additional translation stage.

 Old HTML messages that contain links to images that no longer exist on the Web are a particular problem, as the system may spend as much as a minute (which feels like forever) trying to find the image before giving up. In a few cases,  the system will not be able to process such a message, and will return an error code. In these cases, iData will place a message saying, "HTML could not be processed." in the Message area.

If it seems that the import is going on for longer than normal, you can abort the import process at any time by typing the esc key or command-period. However, if you know that the mailbox being imported is large, it's probably best to be patient.

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